Have you ever wondered what celebrities do in their spare time when they take over a town during a festival? I have, especially during the Toronto International Film Festival that happens every year at the head of September.
I’ve done my fair share of casual celebrity stalking, waiting in long lines to meet them, even walking around Yorkville with the hopes of randomly bumping into someone.
Now, I’m not saying these tips don’t work—they have in the past—but it’s a lot more convenient knowing where celebrities like to hang out, whether they are public or private spots.
For your benefit, I decided to make a list of all of the popular places in downtown Toronto where you can try your luck and maybe bump into someone famous, or just end up with a really delicious meal.
It's pretty hard to miss d|bar when driving into Yorkville. With it's bright colourful lights, everything about this upscale bar is made to entice the modern crowd. Stop by for a drink or maybe some food and you could bump into Woody Harrelson, Harvey Weinstein, or maybe even Bruce Springsteen!
2. SoHo House
With locations all over the world, Soho House is probably one of the most likely places you can spot celebs. Everyone from Colin Firth to Emma Watson, Ryan Gosling to Jennifer Lawrence—if you're famous, you've definitely made an appearance at this spot.
However, if you're like me and just hoping to spot some celebs, be prepared to drop thousands of dollars at this location for a glimpse of your fave.
Soho House is a members-only spot with a whole application process (including a headshot!), so maybe wait outside to spot the celebrities, or try another place on this list.
Cibo Wine Bar, located in the heart of the downtown area, has been recognized as one of the best wine bars in the city of Toronto. With so many options to choose from, waiters and waitresses literally have to be harnessed into the air to grab bottles from the top rows—it's practically a wine bar and an air acrobatics show.
Many celebs have been known to stop by, including Octavia Spencer, Pharrell Williams, Elle Fanning, and the entire cast of The Martian, just to name a few. If you're in the mood for some great wine and Italian food, stop by Cibo and you may bump into a celeb.
Momofuku is another great place you'll probably see a celebrity at during TIFF because there's so much of it.
With three floors holding five different restaurants, Momofuku is bound to please everyone. They have a noodle bar, a typical alcohol bar, and a milk bar. Yes, the very same milk bar that serves the soft-serve ice cream with cereal you've seen gracing the pages of Instagram.
If you choose to hangout in their multi-layer complex, you could find yourself in the presence of some past patrons like Robert Downey Jr, Felicity Jones, Al Pacino, and Liam Neeson.
Sassafraz is probably the OG when it comes to celebrity spotting. Located in the historic area of Yorkville, Sassafraz is made up of yellow Victorian row houses giving it a quaint and comforting atmosphere.
With its French-Canadian-inspired menu, you can eat there any time of day (brunch anyone?). Sit either inside or outside for prime celebrity spotting, and you might see Robert DeNiro, Susan Sarandon, Colin Firth, and Selena Gomez who have all been spotted there in the past.
Have you've ever needed a super fancy ingredient for a dish but can't find it anywhere? Pusateri's Fine Foods probably has it in stock.
This upscale grocery store with multiple locations across Toronto is a great place for some delicious groceries, but the Yorkville location is definitely the best for star sightings.
Located on one of the busiest downtown corners, Pusateri's also has a café that serves up delicious food all day. But don't take my word for it, just ask the many celebs that frequent Pusateri's for a quick bite to eat like Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower.
Last but not least, there is the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Known for showing films during TIFF and throughout the year, the Lightbox has more to offer than just film.
Inside there are two different restaurants: Luma and O&B Canteen. Head to these restaurants for globally-inspired and locally-sourced dishes. If you decide to catch a movie before or after your meal, you may spot James Franco and Francis Ford Coppola, or any other celeb who has their red carpet at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
So even though the magical time of year known as TIFF has ended, many celebrities still frequent these spots when they come to town. If all else fails and you didn't catch your favourite Hollywood star, just remember you could be eating the exact meal they once enjoyed.